Until recently, I didn't know this was a thing. Really fascinating. In the USA at least, we live in a very medicine-focused culture.
So, I am not professionally studying nutrition, but I would like to. My backstory is that I know someone who has been vegan for 8 years or so – vegetarian for the 10 years before that. She has been raising her now-3-year-old son vegan since before birth. Thankfully, her baby is very healthy according to their pediatrician. That is not my point. She has been heavily plant-based, now plant-only, for many years but I worry her diet isn't as optimized for her mental health as it could be. She has been relying on medicine for mental health (bipolar and ADHD to name 2) and an auto-immune disorder for at least a decade now.
I used to take medicine for mental health, also, for at least a decade myself, but all I did was cut out caffeine and alcohol, and doing so appears to have relieved my anxiety disorder in the span of several months (my activity level remained the same otherwise; but my sleep increased as a result of cutting alcohol + caffeine; my water intake increased, as well). I have been focused on my micronutrients for the last 3 months thanks to Cronometer and I feel like a lot of previous symptoms have been relieved for my anxiety, depression, and even my ability to focus (ADHD symptoms). I used to see a therapist and psychiatrist every day for years, but I stopped recently because I just haven't felt the need to. My psychiatrist even expressed joy that she didn't need to prescribe anything for me because it seemed like I was doing fine, and she praised me for cutting caffeine and alcohol (she didn't even play a part in it, lol – she previously just kept prescribing medicine based on my symptoms despite me being transparent with my alcohol + caffeine intake)!
My dad has bipolar disorder, and my mother has general anxiety & schizophrenia and so does my brother. It isn't uncommon in general for people to take depression and anxiety for granted, that they are just a part of life. But I feel like they don't have to be, if you can focus on optimal nutrition for yourself as an individual.
Is this field (nutritional psychiatry) worth exploring further? Is it hokey? Is my understanding of its potential just a pipe dream? Or can it be possible to use food as medicine for diagnosed mental health disorders?
I'm 32 y/o. My current field is in web/graphic design (and 3D modeling/animation), but Cronometer has allowed me to run short-term N=1 tests on myself (and I plan to do more) for nutrient-related curiosities and explore the effects of nutrition further. I'm thinking about a career change into nutrition, particularly if it can help with mental health.
What do you think about nutritional psychiatry?